Abortion and SUDs

Statement on Abortion Access for People with Subtance Use Disorder From O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health at Georgetown University:


June 24, 2022

Please see below for a statement from Regina LaBelle, distinguished scholar and director of the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, Shelly Weizmann, project director of the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, Sonia Canzater, associate director of the Infectious Diseases Initiative, and Somer Brown, fellow, on the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.

When the effects of today’s Supreme Court decision inevitably ripple through our communities, women with substance use disorders will be disproportionately and gravely harmed. Before today, lawmakers in many states had already criminalized having an addiction while pregnant and parenting. These punitive and discriminatory policies have overwhelmingly impacted women of color, in particular Black and Indigenous women.

Now, women with substance use disorders, a population already at greater risk of miscarriage and unplanned pregnancy than the general population, will have even less access to needed health care to manage their own reproduction. This loss of autonomy will yield higher rates of overdose, death, incarceration, and destabilization of families, children, and communities.

Today, we face an overdose crisis, a global pandemic, mass incarceration, and rapid inflation.  Today’s Supreme Court decision will rob many women of their reproductive autonomy, putting their health at risk and exposing them to policies that incarcerate them for their substance use disorders. Meanwhile, the availability of services and supports for women with substance use disorders – and particularly women with children – are wholly inadequate.

We ask our partners in the addiction policy space and all those fighting in opposition to today’s decision to stand behind the women who face dehumanization and stigma from all sides and to continue advocating for evidence-based policies that promote the health and wellbeing of the American public. 

At Milwaukee Women’s Recovery Center, Inc.   we endorse the above statement from Georgetown University and we strongly support the following position of the United Nations Population Fund:

Good sexual and reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters relating to the reproductive system. It implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life, the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. 

To maintain one’s sexual and reproductive health, people need access to accurate information and the safe, effective, affordable and acceptable contraception method of their choice. They must be informed and empowered to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections. And when they decide to have children, women must have access to skilled health care providers and services that can help them have a fit pregnancy, safe birth and healthy baby. 

Every individual has the right to make their own choices about their sexual and reproductive health.   Source: https://www.unfpa.org/sexual-reproductive-health